My Story: My Gender Identity Is A Part Of Me, But Not Me Entirely

Image Credits: ComMutiny

ComMutiny

My Story: "My Gender Identity Is A Part Of Me, But Not Me Entirely"

Hochiminh's journey from the margins of society to becoming the pride of Bangladesh has been a story of courage and hard work. In June 2021 when the Bangladesh Government announced incentives to corporations and private organizations employing third gender/ transgender employees, it was a because of brave hearts like her who have worked tirelessly to create an inclusive Bangladesh.

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Hocheminh with third gender population of BangladeshAt the time of the first surge of COVID-19, Hochiminh was serving people of Bangladesh as an ICU nurse in The Square Hospital in Dhaka. Coming from Bogura, a small town to the north of Bangladesh, Hochiminh came out to her mother as a trans woman after her graduation. When she took up the job of ICU Nurse during the pandemic in a new city with no one to fall back on, she was advised against it. What if she gets infected with COVID-19!

When Hochiminh was young, her father used to tell her about the struggle of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Stories of young people fighting for their motherland fascinated little Hochiminh. This spirit of love for her motherland which she inherited from her father, inspired her to continue her service in the ICU as a nurse at the peak of the pandemic. She took this as continuation of her father's service to the people of Bangladesh.

Things turned harder when she got infected. Living alone in a rented apartment in the capital city of Bangladesh, she was scared. The senior colleagues from her hospital advised her to stay at the isolation ward of the hospital so that if her condition deteriorates, they could immediately help. After a month, she was well again and came back to work to help people.

Hocheminh with third gender population of Bangladesh

Around this time, she became the Bangladesh Lead of the South Asian Young Queer Activists Network (SAYAN), a South Asian Platform dedicated to the rights of gender and sexual minorities across the subcontinent.

SAYAN was founded by Prantakatha. Prantakatha is a member of ComMutiny - the Youth Collective, and the vartaLeap Coalition. Grounded in the amplifying youth voices by co-creating inclusive spaces, all of these spaces share a common principle - young voices are important for the development of societies and communities.

In February 2020 Hochiminh was invited to Kolkata in the SAYAN conference as a delegate from Bangladesh where she shared her inspiring journey of braving social, financial and cultural odds from her village to The Square Hospital in Dhaka. Being a young transwoman sharing her story publicly in a foreign country, she was apprehensive about the repercussions she might have to face, if her life's story gets featured in Bangladesh Media.

But to her surprise, leading newspapers back home started covering her story with a deep sense of celebration. She was recognized as a "First Openly Trans Woman Nurse" in Bangladesh who "braved the pandemic to serve her country." Her identity as a dedicated nurse won many hearts in her country.

"My gender identity is a part of me but not the whole of me. My love for my country that my father sowed in me is as important as my love and pride towards my gender identity," believes Hochiminh.

Hochiminh's journey from the margins of society to becoming the pride of Bangladesh has been a story of courage and hard work. In June 2021 when the Bangladesh Government announced incentives to corporations and private organizations employing third gender/ transgender employees, it was a because of brave hearts like her who have worked tirelessly to create an inclusive Bangladesh.

Her leadership in the healthcare space, created a surge of inspiration in Bangladesh, West Bengal and eventually in India. She became the face of the Gender Minority Movement in Bangladesh. Many young people from the 'third gender' have found the confidence to come out with pride.

Also Read: My Story: 'Q-ki National Championship Gave Me Hope During Despair Of The Second COVID Wave'

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Bappaditya Mukherjee
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Creatives : Ankita Singh